Irish lessor Avolon has placed fifty Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL aircraft with Gözen Holding, making it the first to enter the Turkish market for urban air mobility (UAM). Gözen plans to develop this emerging market, notably around Istanbul and its overcrowded roads. Vertical opens up Turkish UAM market with Avolon and Gözen
Gözen has committed to lease or purchase fifty VX4s, with options on another fifty. With this announcement, Avolon has now placed all 500 eVTOLs it had on firm order with Vertical. Actually, its backlog is oversubscribed by fifty options. Avolon has placed 250 aircraft with GOL in Brazil, 100 with Japan Airlines, a minimum of 100 with AirAsia, plus the fifty firm with Gözen.
Avolon will likely place a follow-on order with Vertical, as CEO Domhnal Slattery is indicating in a media statement: “The strong demand for our VX4 order book and for zero-emission travel, confirms our view that demand for eVTOL aircraft would always outstrip supply. As a result, we will continue working with other partners that want to purchase or lease the VX4 in order to fully seize the potential market and demand for this aircraft.”
Total commitments for Vertical Aerospace now stand at some 1.300 aircraft: 350 from American Airlines, 500 from Avolon, 200 from Marubeni, 150 from Virgin Atlantic, and 100 from Iberojet. Last week, Air Greenland said it wished to purchase or lease the VX4 from Avolon, but didn’t specify how many. Vertical announced an agreement with Leonardo in February on the design and manufacturing of the composite fuselage of the VX4.
eVTOL market is new territory in Turkey
For Gözen and Turkey, the UAM market is new territory. No other OEM has concluded any deals in the country. Gözen is specialized in offering air services across the country that includes charters, ground handling, flight support. Its subsidiary Freebird Airlines operates a fleet of eight Airbus A320ceo’s in Turkey and the Middle East, with two more placed with Freebird Airlines Europe since 2019.
For the company, entering the UAM market is a logical step, said CEO Merkin Gözen in a media statement: “As an integral part of the Turkish aviation industry, we feel it is incumbent upon us to be at the forefront of the sustainability movement and that is why we identified Avolon, and Vertical’s VX4, as the zero-emissions eVTOL aircraft that will revolutionize air travel. With over fifteen million people living in Istanbul, the city is consistently faced with congestion which hinders both the cities’ development and attractiveness as a tourist and business location. We strongly believe that the deployment of the VX4 will dramatically reshape Istanbul and the rest of Turkey.”
Gözen will join an Avolon working group identical to those of other Avolon lessees to identify and explore the UAM market in Turkey and create the infrastructure and certification requirements for the new type of transport. Gözen will offer its experience with ground handling, security, operations, and pilot training to the program. The Turkish market could be attractive for eVTOLs, as over fifty million people use ferries or city boats in Istanbul each year.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.